Former FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that he believes President Donald Trump fired him "to change the way the Russia investigation was being conducted."
Comey made the claim while testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee one month after he was fired. One of the committee members, Sen. Jack Reed (D., R.I.), asked Comey about Trump's treatment of the investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Reed emphasized his belief that Trump "is downplaying the seriousness of this threat," "took specific steps to stop a thorough investigation of the Russian influence," and "doesn't seem particularly interested in these hostile threats by the Russians."
The senator asked Comey if he thought that assessment was "fair."
"I don't know that I can agree to that level of detail," Comey said. "There's no doubt that it's a fair judgment, it's my judgment, that I was fired because of the Russia investigation, was fired in some way to change, or the endeavor was to change, the way the Russia investigation was being conducted."
"That is a very big deal, and not just because it involves me," Comey added. "The nature of the FBI and the nature of its work requires that it not be the subject of political consideration."